Socialist Worker

Blame the rich, not migrant workers

Issue No. 2015

Amid the slew of lies about the “crisis” that will be caused by “floods of immigrants” who are threatening to arrive from Romania and Bulgaria (lies echoed by all the major parties), it is important to restate some basic facts.

A major study for the Home Office recently estimated that immigrants contribute £2.5 billion more in taxes than they receive in benefits.

Immigrants make up 8 percent of the workforce but contribute 10 percent of Britain’s gross domestic product.

Housing problems long pre-dated the arrival of large numbers of immigrants to Britain, let alone the recent arrival of workers from eastern Europe.

Scandalously there are around 110,000 families in Britain now living in temporary accommodation. But at the same time there are some 800,000 homes that have been empty for more than six months.

They remain unused as private developers seek profits and local authorities are starved of cash to renovate them. Council house building has entirely ceased.

Far from being a burden, workers come here to build homes, harvest crops, drive buses, heal the sick, care for the elderly and a hundred other key tasks - often for poor wages.

And all the time our attention gets directed towards immigrants, the rich get richer.

These are the real issues we should be debating, not trying to blame Poles, Romanians or Bulgarians for the problems in society.


Palestine

Israeli war crimes

It’s fair to assume that if Palestinians kidnapped John Prescott or Dick Cheney, the governments of Britain and the US would unleash a storm of protest followed by a firestorm on anyone who defended the action.

Yet when Israel Defence Forces soldiers arrested the Palestinian deputy prime minister Nasser Shaer last weekend there was hardly a murmur. The next day troops surrounded the home of Mahmoud al-Rahami - secretary general of the Palestinian legislative council - and detained him in broad daylight.

With these arrests, five members of the Hamas-led Palestinian cabinet and some 28 Hamas MPs are in Israeli custody.

Even before the Lebanese war, Israel was carrying out murder. In July, the Israeli military killed 163 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. And 36 of those killed were children.

The number of Palestinian fatalities in July was the highest of any month since April 2002.

Having lost in Lebanon, Israel is now punishing the Palestinians further.


Racism

It’s just not cricket

You don’t have to appreciate the difference between a leg break and a googly to know that the row over the Pakistan cricket team is about a great deal more than the interpretation of the law on ball tampering.

The Pakistan team have been treated in a slighting manner, accused of being cheats without the presentation of any evidence, sentenced without consultation or hearing, and slurred for protesting - all at a time when the war on terror is targeting Muslims.

It is certain that the English team would not have been treated in this way.

The task is to hit racism for six.

For Andy Stone’s report from the Oval go to Pakistan have cause to complain


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What We Think
Sat 26 Aug 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2015
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